3,200 Players Set to Compete in 2018 World Amateur Handicap Championship

Curtis Henley of Poquoson, Va., shot a gross 82, good for a net 66, to win the 2017 World Championship Playoff at the 34th annual Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship Friday at Barefoot Resort’s Dye Club Aug 30, 2017.

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina – The field is set for the PlayGolfMyrtleBeach.com World Amateur Handicap Championship and 3,200 players from 48 states and 26 countries have registered to play in the 35th annual event.

The 72-hole, net stroke play tournament will be played August 27-31 on 60 of Myrtle Beach’s best courses. The player count represents a seven percent increase over 2017, providing the event a boost with the beginning of the “Everyman’s Major”.

The game’s most inclusive event, the World Am places golfers in tightly bunched flight based on age, gender and handicap. After four rounds, all flight winners and ties advance to the World Championship Playoff on Friday, August 31 at Barefoot Resort’s Dye Course, where a champion will be crowned.

“I haven’t been to all 35 World Amateur Handicap Championships,” said Tony Leodora, a golf entrepreneur from Philadelphia. “But I have been to at least half of them. It is the most fun-filled week of golf in the year. I used to come to Myrtle Beach with aspirations of winning my flight, competing in the championship round against other flight winners, and maybe even hoisting the championship trophy. Now, my goal is to complete all four rounds. Call it a case of diminished expectations.”

The Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship, which some call the “Everyman’s Major”, is the world’s largest golf tournament with over 3,000 players competing in 65 flights by gender, age and handicap over four days.

South Carolina is sending a tournament high 317 players, followed by North Carolina (285), Florida (273), Texas (252) and Virginia (201). There will be a 190 international participants, including 46 Canadians and a record 45 Germans.

While the competition is initially what lures players to the bucket list event, it’s only part of what keeps them coming back. At the heart of the World Am’s appeal is the camaraderie among its participants and much of that kinship is fostered at the World’s Largest 19th Hole.

Each night of the event, the 19th Hole overtakes all 120,000-square feet of the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, providing participants with free food and drinks, live entertainment, celebrity guest appearances, a golf expo and more.

Players will also receive a gift bag that perennially includes a logo’d hat, shirt, PGA Tour Superstore gift card and an assortment of other goodies. There are 133 players from new England registered: MA (52), CT (49, RI (13), NH (8), ME (6) and VT (5).

The first World Amateur was played in 1984 with 684 players. That first year there was no World’s Largest 19th Hole – players were served baked beans on paper plates after their round – but it was the clear the format was a hit with golfers. The event topped 1,100 players in year 2 and momentum continued to build.

The average tournament score is 88 and over 1,000,000 total strokes will be taken during the 35th annual World Am. It’s a one-of-a-kind event and I can’t wait to play after taking a few years off!

For more information, visit www.MyrtleBeachWorldAmateur.com.

Tom Gorman, a Boston-based golf writer, is a longtime member of the Golf Writer's Association of America. Tom is a member at Fiddlesticks CC (Ft. Myers, FL) and the New England Series and Amateur Golf Tour of New England. Email can be sent to teetalk@aol.com.

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